The Beauty Around Us

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Ohio Vacation Day 3 – Boston Mill Visitor Center (6/27/2021)

After our walk around Kendall Lake, we drove to the new Boston Mill Visitor Center. The visitor center is located at the southeast corner of Riverview and Boston Mills roads in the Village of Boston in Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

I was attempting to take a selfie at this location,
as we were walking to the Boston Mill Visitor Center.
A fellow visitor asked if we wanted her to take our picture.
I said yes and thank you.
the Boston Mill Visitor Center

The original function of the Boston Mill Visitor Center building was a general store that was constructed in 1905 for the Cleveland-Akron Bag Company.

The new visitor center opened on October 25, 2019. The Boston Mill Visitor Center serves as a central, one-stop resource for visitors to plan their journeys in the national park and Ohio & Erie Canalway. The visitor center includes the main visitor center building (displayed above) and two smaller buildings nearby, which serve as public restrooms and office space. An outdoor pavilion and courtyard provide visitors with park information and resources 24/7, while indoor exhibits orient visitors to the park and its geography, natural resources, history, and surrounding areas.

The Boston Mill Station is located near the visitor center. We watched the 11:45am train arrive and leave the train station.

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad Train approaching Boston Mill Station
Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad Train at Boston Mill Station
Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad Train departs Boston Mill Station

We see this train often, when in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. So far we have not ridden the train. Some day we hope to ride the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad Train on its National Park Scenic Excursion.

We ate lunch at Fisher’s Cafe and Pub in Peninsula. It was our first time eating there. We have passed by this restaurant many times, while on other trips to this area. I always thought we should eat there sometime. “Sometime” was today. Bob ordered a Yellow Fin Wrap (Medium Rare Caribbean & Cajun Seasoned Yellow Fin Tuna, Wrapped with Romaine Lettuce. Thai Rice, Kung Fu Teriyaki Sauce on the Side) with potato salad. I ordered beer-battered fish and potato salad. Our meals were delicious and filling; our waitress was attentive.

Please return for a blog post about our visit to Brandywine Falls, also on Day 3 of our Ohio vacation. I hope to publish that blog post tomorrow.

Pymatuning Day Trip

This past Saturday (June 19th) Bob suggested that we drive to Pymatuning State Park. A change of scenery appealed to me.

The highlight of our visit to Pymatuning was seeing the Pymatuning Dam and the area near the dam.

Pymatuning State Park Dam and its Environ

Pymatuning Dam is located at the southern end of Pymatuning Reservoir. We have visited Pymatuning several times. This was our first visit to the dam and its surrounding area.

Our first stop was at Shenango River. We crossed over Pymatuning Dam via Dam Road. We turned right onto Water Trail Drive, which led us to the Shenango River.

Pymatuning State Park – Shenango River
We saw this great blue heron on the opposite side of the river.
We noticed a trail that appeared close to where the heron was located.
We walked over the pedestrian bridge to reach Sugar Creek Run Trail.
It was a short walk to where the great blue heron was perched.
I managed to capture this picture, through the foliage,
before the great blue heron took off.

Our second stop was on the reservoir side of the dam. We backtracked and drove back over the dam. We pulled into the parking lot for pavilion shelter #3.

Pymatuning State Park
the Dam Gatehouse, as seen from Pavilion Shelter #3 grounds

We, then, drove back across the dam but only half way. We parked across from the Dam Gatehouse.

Pymatuning State Park – Dam Gatehouse

According to signage at the site, the “castle-like stone gatehouse allows water flow through the dam. Water enters the gatehouse through a 20-foot-wide diversion channel and travels 280 feet to the outflow conduits.”

Entry to the Dam Gatehouse was barred.
Dam Gatehouse

We walked back across Dam Road and visited the outflow area.

Pymatuning Dam Outflow
Pymatuning Dam Outflow.
We walked down two staircases to get closer to the outflow.

The Pymatuning Dam Outflow forms the Shenango River.

Leaving Pymatuning Dam and its environ our next stop was at the Linesville Spillway, where we saw lots of carp, ducks and geese.

The Geese, Ducks and Carp are fed bread at the spillway.
Pymatuning State Park – the Spillway
You can’t see the Spillway in this picture. We are walking toward the Spillway.
Geese, Ducks and Carp at Pymatuning Spillway
The Spillway, which you can’t see, is behind us.
We are walking back to our car.

It is said that ducks walk on carp at the Spillway, but we didn’t see that.

Leaving Pymatuning State Park in our rearview mirror, our next stop was for lunch in Spartansburg. We ate lunch at the Dutch Treat Restaurant.

This is the Dutch Treat Restaurant.

Bob had an egg sandwich with French fries and coleslaw. I had a BLT sandwich with French fries and applesauce. Our meals were delicious. Service was OK. It would have been better, if Bob had gotten the lunch he ordered–a steak salad. Bob should have been tipped off, when the waitress asked if Bob wanted coleslaw. A salad has a coleslaw side??? I did notice that the waitress was hard of hearing AND she was tired–overworked from lack of help. Bob decided to let it go. He saved $8.00 on our lunch price. The egg salad sandwich was a lot less expensive than the steak salad.

After lunch, we walked across the parking lot to Clear Lake.

On our way to Clear Lake we saw a white goose.
We checked out Clear Lake from a small bridge that crosses over the lake.

We returned home, after lunch. It was a good day, even with the rain that came in the afternoon.

Easter Vacation 2021 Day 5 – Oriole MD


This is our sixth vacation spent in Chincoteague, VA since 2015. Our main activities during vacation include photographing wild ponies and water birds at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia, photographing wild ponies at Assateague Island, MD, and visiting the Assateague Island National Seashore in both Virginia and Maryland. We have ridden our bicycles at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and walked trails in both the refuge and at Assateague Island, MD. Today we decided to spread our wings a bit and visit another nearby locale. This morning we drove to Oriole, MD in search of a historic landmark that I had read about on the Internet.

Located at the intersection of the Champ and Oriole roads is the St. James Methodist Episcopal Church. According to the Registration Form for National Register of Historic Places, the church “is one of eighteen historic African- American churches recorded on the Somerset County inventory, and it is architecturally important as one of the most original with relatively intact exterior and interior finishes. Unlike most of the other churches in this group, St. James has not been used since the mid 1960s, thereby freeing it from many of the modern alterations that have been made to other churches for comfort or low maintenance concerns. The building has not been altered to any significant degree since the turn of the twentieth century and it is a rare, relatively intact survivor of late nineteenth century religious architecture as embraced by rural black congregations in Somerset County.

The St. James Methodist Episcopal Church was built in 1885. According to the African American Registry, “the church community was comprised of free Blacks, freed slaves and watermen … Over time, the congregation gradually disbanded and became too small to maintain the facility and, soon, the building was abandoned and eventually fell into poor condition.

This video was published on YouTube in May 2011, before St. James Methodist Episcopal Church was restored. There are many exterior and interior photographs contained within the video, along with personal recollections of the church.

The church is being restored through the efforts of the Oriole Historical Society.

St. James Methodist Episcopal Church, as it stands today.

Located across Champ Road is a nineteenth-century graveyard, with above grave markers.

St. James Methodist Episcopal Church Cemetery

Because of the high water table, graves cannot be dug to the standard depth.

A Sunny Day Drive

Bob and I went for a drive on the afternoon of February 4th.  We drove around the Allegheny Reservoir and through Allegany State Park near Salamanca, NY. 

We stopped at Science Lake.  

Science Lake at Allegany State Park. Look at that beautiful blue sky and the piles of snow.

On the way home Bob said he wanted to go to Washington Park.  I didn’t want to go to Washington Park because I didn’t want to risk getting stuck in the snow.  The narrow, rutted and gravel entry road is not maintained in the winter.  Bob took us there anyway.  

View of Warren from Washington Park

Bob took this picture of me at Washington Park

This is a dash cam video of our drive to and from Washington Park.  Bob edited the video to add music and a few still images.

I am glad Bob didn’t listen to me (this time LOL).  We didn’t get stuck, and the view of Warren from the park was splendid!

Couple Minutes of Crazy (Fun)

We took our granddaughters sled riding at Pool Hill in Youngsville, PA.

Earlier today I published a blog post about taking our granddaughters sled riding. In that blog post I shared a video that I had taken.

Bob also captured video, using our GoPro camera.

Bob compiled several video clips into one video. I especially love two edits that Bob did with the video. He zoomed in on the girls walking hand in hand up the sledding hill. He added slow motion to two wipeouts, and zoomed in as well.

Weekend in Hudson, OH

We spent 3 nights September 20 through September 23 in Hudson, OH.  We rented the Hudson Home AirBnB.  The location of this AirBnB was ideal for our activities. We went bicycling on trails in and near Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and we visited the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.  A food market and restaurants were within walking distance from our rental.

We were en route Hudson, OH at 7:15 am on Friday, September 20.  We stopped for breakfast in Youngsville, PA at Richard’s Family Restaurant. “That was good; it was enjoyable”, Bob said after breakfast. Bob had a Greek omelet with home fries and toast. I had French toast and bacon.  The service was fast, as we were back on the road at 8:10 am.

We told Google maps to take us to Hudson OH, using an off highway route. From Youngsville Google maps said it was 133 mi 3 hours and 25 minutes to our destination, with an ETA of 11:23 am.  A deer ran across the road in front of us, shortly after leaving the restaurant. If there had been a second deer, it is likely we would have hit that deer.

We arrived in Hudson around 11:45 am. We passed by our AirBnB and drove to Szalay’s in Peninsula for lunch. The  farm market was open; the outdoor eatery was not. We drove back to Hudson.

We ate lunch at Johnny’s Diner, located in Hudson at the Acme Market plaza. This is what the webpage says about Johnny’s Diner:

“Go back in time to the glory days of malt shop diners. Johnny’s Diner is a delicious blend of 50’s style diner and hometown Hudson.”

Johnny’s Diner

Johnny’s Diner

I liked the diner’s 50s ambiance; the service and food was good as well. We didn’t order anything that the diner appears to be noted for i.e., burgers and shakes. We can, though, attest to the fact that the Chef’s Salad and melted tuna sandwich are delicious.

After lunch, we drove to the AirBnB that we rented for 3 nights. The AirBnB is located about 1/4 mile from the Acme Market plaza. We “checked in”, carried in our baggage and got settled in. Checking in involved entering a combination for a lockbox and using the key inside the lockbox to open the front door. Once inside we returned the key to the lockbox. Near the kitchen door was a key to use for the rest of our visit. That key was for the back door, which happens to be the most convenient door to use. Parking is at the back of the house.

Our rental AirBnB – living / dining room

Our rental AirBnB – back yard

Our rental AirBnB – Our host left snacks for us.

Later in the afternoon we walked the quarter of a mile to the Acme Market and purchased a few groceries (mainly breakfast items, beverages and snacks).

We ate dinner at Perkins Restaurant, located in the Acme Market plaza.

This AirBnB does not have a TV. It does, however, have the Internet and a computer monitor. Bob didn’t bring the Fire Stick, as the AirBnB listing said there was no TV. Therefore, Bob assumed that there would be nowhere to plug in the Fire Stick. He could have plugged the Fire Stick into the monitor. We were able to watch Amazon Prime and Hulu, though, by hooking up Bob‘s Surface Pro tablet to the computer monitor.

 

The next day (Saturday, September 21) we ate breakfast at the house from purchases that we made the day before. Then we went for a bicycle ride, which you can read about here.

We ate lunch at Szalay’s Outdoor Eatery. Bob had a polish sausage, and I had a hot dog. For dessert we had fruit sundaes–vanilla soft serve ice cream with pineapple, blueberries, strawberries and bananas.

After lunch we returned to the house, where we stayed until late afternoon.

We ate dinner at Subway in the Acme Market plaza.  I am sure that you can tell that we made good use of the nearby shopping plaza.

After dinner we drove to the Ira Trailhead on the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, where we went for a short evening bicycle ride.

We returned to the house around 7:30 pm.

 

On Sunday, September 22, we went to the zoo.  We felt that the zoo was a better choice, given the extreme heat, than riding bicycles.

We were en route Cleveland Metroparks Zoo at 9:00 am. We arrived about 50 minutes later. Our tickets were half price because we are members of the Erie Zoo. We visited all seven zoo locations.

I put together a slideshow of some of the zoo animals that we saw during our visit.

Bob put together a short video too.

What a hot day! The car thermometer read 94 degrees, when we returned to the car. We had an enjoyable time at the zoo. Our time there, though, would have been more enjoyable had it been about 20 degrees cooler. The animals may have been more active too.

We departed the zoo at 2:00 pm. We were back at the house by 3:00 pm. We were both whipped, and our feet hurt. Still the day’s activities were better than riding bicycles. At least we were able to find some relief in air conditioned buildings.

 

We departed Hudson at 7:30 am on Monday, September 23. We stopped for breakfast at Bob Evans Restaurant in Streetsboro, OH. We both ordered Classic Breakfast – 2 eggs, 2 pancakes and bacon.  Filling and delicious!

When we left Hudson it was cloudy and a comfortable 68 degrees. It started raining in Conneaut, PA and the rain stayed with us rest of the way home. We returned home around noon.

What a wonderful weekend getaway!

“Where the Mountains Meet the Sea” and More Lighthouses

Today was a long day of sightseeing.

On our way to Camden, we stopped for a delicious and filling breakfast at The Rockport Diner in Rockport, ME.

Leaving Rockport, we drove through Camden to Camden Hills State Park.  We paid an entry fee of $6.00 each to enter the state park. Our goal was to go to the scenic vista on top of Mount Battie.  We had two choices.  We could either hike or drive the Auto Road to the top of Mount Battie.  We chose the driving option.

Mount Battie Stone Tower

The Mount Battie Stone Tower was built in 1921 and recognizes “the services of the men and women of Camden in the World War, 1914-1918”.

From this vantage point magnificent views of Camden Harbor, Penobscot Bay and the surrounding countryside can be enjoyed.

Camden is “where the mountains meet the sea”.

“All I could see from where I stood
Was three long mountains and a wood;
I turned and looked another way,
And saw three islands in a bay.”
~Edna St. Vincent Millay

It is believed that Edna St. Vincent Millay wrote the poem “Renascence”, while enjoying the view from the summit of Mount Battie.

 

Leaving Camden we drove to Marshall Point Lighthouse, which is located near the fishing village of Port Clyde.

Did you watch the movie “Forest Gump”?  Marshall Point Lighthouse is where Forest Gump concluded his long run.

Marshall Point Lighthouse

Marshall Point Lighthouse

Marshall Point Lighthouse and Keepers House

Marshall Point Lighthouse

There were two lighthouses that we wanted to visit in Rockland: Owls Head Lighthouse and Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse.  We saw Owls Head Lighthouse first.

Owls Head Lighthouse

Owls Head Lighthouse

This last photograph was one of my favorites of the day.

We ate lunch at Rockland Cafe, which Bob’s sister had recommended to us.  It was a good recommendation.  Bob had a chef salad.  I had a chicken salad sandwich and clam chowder.  We had dessert too — blueberry crisp with ice cream for Bob and peanut butter pie for me.

After lunch we drove to Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse. 

Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse

The lighthouse is at the end of a 7/8-mile-long breakwater, so visiting requires a nearly two-mile round trip walk.   Bob walked on the breakwater about 3/4 of the way to the lighthouse.  When thunder and lightning started, Bob turned around.  I didn’t walk on the breakwater.  It had recently rained, and I did not have the confidence to walk the uneven rocks that I suspected were slick.  I entertained myself on the shore, while Bob was walking to the lighthouse, by photographing seagulls and talking to people passing by.

Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse with Seagull

After talking for a few minutes with a man, his wife and son they decided to walk out to the lighthouse (again).  They attempted to reach the lighthouse earlier, but turned around when it started to rain.  I told them to say hello to Bob, if they saw him on his way back.  He would be the man with the bald head.  I have to laugh again because, when I mentioned the bald head, the man patted his own head and said “like mine”.  Within a couple minutes the man and I had concocted a story to go along with the family saying hello to Bob.

“Hey, wait!  You are Bob, aren’t you?  Hello!

“Do you remember me? We went to high school together at Warren Area High School.”

Does Bob look confused?  He was confused for a few seconds.

This is the point in time, when the truth was told.

What fun that was!

Oh, Look! I didn’t have to walk out the breakwater to get a good picture of the lighthouse. I love my zoom lens!

You can see by looking at the map at the beginning of this post that we didn’t take a direct route back to Pioneer Motel.  We decided to see a bit more of Mid-Coast Maine.  It is a good thing that we had the Garmin GPS with us.   Data was not available on our mobile phones for most of our travels today.

This blog post concludes Day 5 of our 10-day Maine vacation (June 28-July 7, 2019).

– TO BE CONTINUED –

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